‘Class act’ - Joey Barton delivers verdict on Bristol Rovers fourth summer transfer

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George Friend’s move to Bristol Rovers has now been confirmed - and Joey Barton is looking forward to working with him.

Joey Barton says he is looking forward to working with George Friend after he became Bristol Rovers’ fourth signing of the summer transfer window.

The 35-year-old has trained with the Gas for the last week and now has now put pen to paper on a one-year deal at the Memorial Stadium. Friend represents Rovers’ change in transfer approach having become the second player above 30 to join the club this summer.

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Friend had been on the search for a new club following his release from Birmingham City. He spent three years at St Andrew’s, having made 52 appearances for the Blues. Friend appeared just seven times last season for Birmingham, but his experience in the game will come as a great benefit to a youthful squad.

“George is a class act and his experience speaks for itself,” said Barton to the official club website.

“He will make a great addition to our defensive line and I look forward to working with him.”

Friend has had an 18-year playing career and most of it has been spent in the Championship, playing for mainly Middlesbrough and Birmingham City. He won promotion to the Premier League with Boro in 2016, and has been named in three Team of the Seasons. His previous experience of playing in League One was with Millwall, Southend United, and Exeter City.

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He did not appear against Melksham Town last Friday but could make his first appearance in the blue and white quarters in their next friendly match against Eastleigh on Saturday, July 8. His first appearance at the Mem could be against Chesterfield on Saturday, July 29, which is their final match before their season opener away at Portsmouth on Saturday, August 5.

Friend is the fourth signing of the summer and follows in the footsteps of James Wilson, Luke Thomas and Jevani Brown who have all come on board at Rovers this season. It was revealed earlier today that Rovers had joined the race to sign Cheltenham Town ace Alfie May.

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